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Tristano school stuff


Nate Dorward
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I'm familiar with Tristano's work & with that of Konitz & Marsh. What I was curious about & thought folks here might have opinions on, was about the merits of records by other players from the 1st & 2nd generations of the Tristano School--there's a pile of records on specialist labels like Jazz Records, New Artists, Zinnia, &c. E.g. Sal Mosca, Ronnie Ball, Peter Ind, Ted Brown, Billy Lester, Connie Crothers, Liz Gorrill, Lenny Popkin, Susan Chen, Richard Tabnik &c. Anyone dug into this corner of the field? I don't know the younger players in this bunch at all, & players like Mosca, Ball, & Brown I've encountered only glancingly. I do quite like Ronnie Ball's disc on Savoy, which I picked up from a cutout bin: it's notable for having a lot of Willie Dennis's absolutely stunning trombone work on it, the only record I've heard where he gets a lot of solos (he's on a couple Mingus discs but isn't really featured).

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Richard Tabnik is an interesting player, not nearly as orthodox as some of Tristano's followers, touched by some of the more free-leaning players on his instrument. I have IN THE MOMENT, his trio date with Cameron Brown and Carol Tristano, and it is quite fine. Nate, you may want to take especial note of this date given that track 6 is entitled "Lester Young's Solos on Shoe Shine Boy [Takes 1-2]". Been quite a while since I spun this one, though.

Connie Crothers is certainly worth checking out -- I have both JAZZ SPRING, a quartet with Brown, C. Tristano and Lenny Popkin, which features playing more "romantic" than one might normally assocaite with the Tristano school, and SWISH, a somewhat unusual duet recording with Max Roach.

Agreed that Mosca's few recordings are quite exquisite, but, unfortunately, the CD transfer I own of his excellent solo recital (A CONCERT) is distractingly poor.

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Thanks for the recommendations. Yes one reason why I was a bit cautious in investigating this area is that my impression was that a number of these labels were willing to release albums which, even though recently recorded, had fairly gruesome sound....

Hadn't quite decided what I make of Mosca from the appearances of his I have on disc--I'd always found him rather dour, though sometimes the circumstances of the sessions don't help (e.g. Spirits with Konitz features a rather dark-sounding & out-of-tune piano). There's quite a contrast with Ball's rather brighter & (true to his name) bouncier take on Tristano's piano style.

Yes Gary Foster--I remember his duet album with Alan Broadbent as being very fine. He's also a good partner on Warne Marsh's Ne Plus Ultra, which Hat Art/ology really ought to see about reinstating in their catalogue (even better if they dug up more stuff from the live session--only one track from this on the disc, which is tantalizing).

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Richard Tabnik is an interesting player, not nearly as orthodox as some of Tristano's followers, touched by some of the more free-leaning players on his instrument. I have IN THE MOMENT, his trio date with Cameron Brown and Carol Tristano, and it is quite fine.

Yeah, I like Tabnik too. There's something I find quite addictive about his playing. I have "In the Moment" and it is good. Tabnik and a lot of other, I guess you'd call them, Tristano-schoolites, are on New Artists Records. Perhaps this is a Tristano School record label.

I've got a sampler of their stuff: "Notes From New York". It's fun - might be a way in for the curious.

New Artists Records

Simon Weil

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Bill Lester's recent disc, Four Into Four is very good. I think it benefits from the addition of a trumpeter, which I do not think we have heard very often in the Tristano sphere.

Another recording that I think is excellent although I am not sure what generation he should be considered in the Tristano orbit is Jimmy Halperin's Cycle Logical. Some of the purest improvising I have heard on any recording in the past couple of years. The ideas just flow out of Halperin's horn. Highly recommended.

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  • 6 months later...

Thought I'd dredge up this old thread to report that a new disc just came in the mail, Prayers and Mad Laughter by Kazzrie Jaxen. It's a poetry + piano thing with a lot of overdubbed voices, & truly ghastly cover art. Close inspection reveals that Ms Jaxen is the former Liz Gorrill. But good Lord, I've no idea what's gotten into her.....

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At one time I owned the Tristano Memorial Concert box and I was less than impressed. The Warne Marsh tracks were brilliant, and the Sheila Jordan set was great, but badly recorded. The rest of the "artists" seemed to range from dreary to completely off-the-wall. I soon sold the lps after burning the Marsh tracks onto cdr. I seem to remember Liz Gorrill as being quite dreadful.

Gary Foster is a fine player. His albums on his Bosco label are excellent.

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  • 9 months later...

Might as well bump this thread up again to say that Sal Mosca's got a new trio disc on Zinnia, Thing-Ah-Majig. I really like it--his playing is incredibly idiosyncratic, especially the time feel (more like Monk than Tristano in spots). The liner notes report it's his first disc since an enforced sabbatical after a heart attack. He sounds in excellent form, & I'm glad he's still making music.

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Might as well bump this thread up again to say that Sal Mosca's got a new trio disc on Zinnia, Thing-Ah-Majig. I really like it--his playing is incredibly idiosyncratic, especially the time feel (more like Monk than Tristano in spots). The liner notes report it's his first disc since an enforced sabbatical after a heart attack. He sounds in excellent form, & I'm glad he's still making music.

where can this be got ?

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Zinnia's available from Cadence (www.cadencebuilding.com).

Mark Turner is certainly an interesting guy--I liked the first Warners album but found the latter end of his tenure pretty hard to warm to (Dharma Days with Rosenwinkel is positively cryptic). I'm told the Criss Cross albums are still his strongest statements though I haven't heard them yet. Turner's also on Konitz's Parallels though I actually prefer the tracks without Turner. Haven't heard the recent Savoy disc.

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  • 4 months later...

Might as well bump this thread up again to say that Sal Mosca's got a new trio disc on Zinnia, Thing-Ah-Majig.  I really like it--his playing is incredibly idiosyncratic, especially the time feel (more like Monk than Tristano in spots).  The liner notes report it's his first disc since an enforced sabbatical after a heart attack.  He sounds in excellent form, & I'm glad he's still making music.

where can this be got ?

eventually got this release and it was well worth the wait. Nicely recorded and certainly pretty idiosyncratic. Very solid recommendation Nate. Thanks !!!

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I've heard a 1999 Halperin/Mosca duet disc that is absolutely mesmerizing, which is not necessarily to say that it's "perfect", because it's not. But good gracious, those two get into some pretty interesting deepness, and if it's got a purer-than-pure Tristano-ish sheen to it that by definition pushes it aside into a realm of its own self-referentialdom, so be it. It is what it is, and it's gonna be what it's gonna be.

This is it:

d6388116eu8.jpg

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In the melodic lines, anyway. That shit is freakin' devious sometimes! But it wasn't until much later (and often away from Lennie) that, in particular, the drummers started getting in on the fun.

Was Elvin on Motion the first recorded example of a "Tristano-ite" playing with a drummer who broke up the time as much as the soloists did?

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If you like the "early" Tristano-Konitz-Marsh style I suggest you look into a number of recordings by Swedish musicians. Rolf Billberg has two CDs available that I like quite a bit.

Darn That Dream - Dragon 369

Rare Recordings By A Swedish Jazz Legend - Storyville 101 8369

There are also a number of other CDs on the Dragon label which show a definite Tristano influence. See recordings by Niels Lindberg and Lars Gullin to mention a few.

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  • 5 months later...

After all these years, I finally heard Connie Crothers a few months ago (two quartet sides w/Popkin, Brown, & C. Tristano), and it's taken me this long to get over the repulsion to the point where I can talk about it. Is this chick the Yoko* of the Tristano universe or what? YIKES!

(* I actually like Yoko's work, on the whole, so I'm referring to the popular perception of her)

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